Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on prescription drugs, Mayo study finds


A new study by Mayo Clinic researchers finds that nearly seven in 10 residents of southeastern Minnesota are on prescription drugs, and researchers believe that proportion is comparable to the nation as a whole.

FROM MAY: Cocaine, antidepressants found in roughly one-third of Minnesota lakes, study finds

Seventeen percent of people in the study take antibiotics, 13 percent antidepressants, 13 percent opioids, 11 percent blood pressure drugs, and 11 percent vaccines. More than half  take two or more prescriptions.

[jump] Women were found to be on more prescriptions than men. Notably, nearly one in four women between the ages of 50 and 64 in the study is on an antidepressant.

"Often when people talk about health conditions they're talking about chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes," study author Dr. Jennifer St. Sauver says in a summary of the findings. "However, the second most common prescription was for antidepressants -- that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on. And the third most common drugs were opioids, which is a bit concerning considering their addicting nature."

Data for the study was taken from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, which is a collaboration between health care providers in southeastern Minnesota that allows researchers to use medical records to study health and illnesses in the people living in that part of the state.

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